Dutch Supercar Challenge - Zandvoort
A new addition to our already extensive coverage of GT racing across Europe is the Dutch Supercar Challenge, the only Dutch GT and touring car championship, a series which is roughly comparable to Belcar. The season kicked off during the Easter weekend and although the coverage is a bit late, we feel that you shouldn’t be deprived of an excellent race, nonetheless – writes Nelson Valkenburg.

Qualifying
During qualifying on Saturday it was Cor Euser in his factory Marcos Mantis who took pole-position in the GT class, in front of the ever hard-charging René Snel in his Snel Motorsport Porsche GT3-RS and the very impressive Graham Coomes, who put his Supersport class ex-BTCC Honda Accord in front of several more powerful GTs. Fourth overall and third in the GT class was Meindert van Buuren in his V8-Star (with a Volkswagen Passat body) closely followed by Luca Moro in another GT3-RS.

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In the Supersport class it was Coomes in third overall in front of Jan Joris Verheul in his Marcos Mantis and John van der Voort in a similar car. The STW BMW of Frans van Os and the BMW M3 GTR of Ron Braspenning were next.

In the Sport class it was Ko Scheurer in his beautifully prepared BMW E46 in front of Hans Ambaum (BMW E36) and Danny de Haan (BMW Z3 Coupe). BMWs didn’t have it all their way however, as Nico Been put his Renault Clio RS in fourth just in front of the equally impressive Eugene Jansen in another BMW.

Race 1
With the prospect of close battles throughout the field, notably in the Sport and Supersport classes and almost famous early-race rivalry between Euser and Snel, the first race of the season was anxiously awaited and certainly did not disappoint. The field made for a fine sight heading into Tarzan.

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It was Jos Menten who piloted the factory Marcos Mantis at the start, and the young Dutchman came away cleanly off the line. René Snel however had a slightly better start and attacked the multi-coloured Mantis straight away. Snel himself had to fend of fierce attacks from Meindert van Buuren in the V8-Star, who made a great start and subsequently found himself in third place. Battling for fourth place were Graham Coomes and Jan Joris Verheul, who also were fighting for the lead of the Supersport class as the 45-car field roared into the 180-degree Tarzan Corner.

These battles continued all the way through the first lap and by the time the head of the field came onto the long straight it was René Snel who had taken the lead with a “do-or-die” move at the Audi-S chicane. Battling for third place were Van Buuren and Coomes, who had moved away from Verheul, who later reported braking trouble. As it turned out, Van Buuren was settling in rather well and pulled away from the British Honda Accord and set out to catch the leading pair.

Jos Menten quickly took back the lead and put on a display of his speed, as he pulled clear from the Snel Porsche in order to give his patron, Cor Euser, a healthy lead as he took over the car during their pits stop. After the stops it was an easy victory for Euser and Menten. Behind the leaders, Snel and Van Buuren never were fare apart, but the V8-Star never got close enough to launch a serious attack and had to settle for third, a good result nonetheless for a driver who hadn’t sat in the car prior to the weekend.

In the Sport class the battle was perhaps even fiercer than in the other two classes, as Co Scheurer and Hans Ambaum battled for the lead during the first part of the race. The two BMWs put on a good show for the crowd and it was Ambaum who finally prevailed with a good overtaking manoeuvre in the Audi-S chicane, which was turning out to be the place where most of the overtaking took place. Ambaum then settled into a steady but fast rhythm and opened up a significant advantage over the competition. The gap to second grew significantly as the BMW of Co Scheurer retired and Danny de Haan inherited second, just in front of Dirk van Engelenhoven, who carved through the field during the first part of the race. In the end De Haan was able to fend of Van Engelenhoven as they headed for their well-earned podium places.

Fourth overall and first in the Supersport class was Graham Coomes, followed by Verheul in the ill-handling Marcos. Third was the Van Os STW BMW, which had fought an interesting battle with the new Saker of Robbert Dollee, the Luca Moro Porsche and the BMW GTR of Ron Braspenning who ended up ninth overall and fourth in class.

Race 1 Result
1. Euser / Menten GT Marcos Mantis GT 18 laps
2. René Snel GT Porsche GT3-RS + 18.858
3. Meindert van Buuren GT Passat V8-Star + 21.735
4. Graham Coomes Supersport Honda Accord ST + 22.492
5. Jan Joris Verheul Supersport Marcos Mantis + 38.305
6. Robbert Dollee GT Saker Subaru + 59.768
7. Luca Moro GT Porsche GT3-RS +1.01.556
8. Van Os / Van Os Supersport BMW 320i STW +1.03.244
9. Ron Braspenning Supersport BMW E46 GTR +1.08.313
10. Nol Kohler Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.12.168
20. Hans Ambaum Sport BMW E36 + 1 Lap


Race 2
After the mostly incident free first race on Saturday, the second race on Monday started with a bang. The grid was made up from the result from the first race and after the flag dropped it was again René Snel, making his now customary super-start, who took the fight to the factory Marcos Mantis. Unfortunately the two made contact, which sent Euser spinning at the exit of the first corner.

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Amazingly, and partly because of his car control, Euser was missed by the entire field and could resume from pole-position (of the restrated race). Snel had no such luck as the beautiful Porsche was virtually destroyed after hitting the barriers, and then a few seconds later being struck by Luca Moro in his similar car: neither car was able to resume at the restart.

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At the restart it was the surprising Jan Joris Verheul in the Supersport Marcos who took the lead after a great get away, and he actually pulled away from Euser, who had to deal with Meindert van Buuren in the V8-Star, who had decided to make a race of it.

The spectators watched in awe as the blue and white Silhouette passed the second-placed car under braking for the the Audi-S chicane, and held on for almost a lap, until Euser powered past at the Hunserug. Unfazed, Van Buuren attempted the same manoeuvre at the same corner and again made it stick, but was passed again at the Hunserug-straight. This battle was not to last as, unfortunately, because the organisers found that the V8-Star failed to meet noise-restrictions and was taken out of the race.

In the Supersport class it was Verheul, who was still leading overall, at the front. Graham Coomes, Ron Braspenning and Richard van de Bos in his BMW V8 GTR fought hard for the remaining podium places. The fight would continue through into the final stages of the race as the group had the spectators on their feet. In the end, Van de Bos would prevail in front of Ron Braspenning, who had the narrowest of leads over Coomes. At the finish he had three tenths in hand!

In the Sport class it was much of the same as a lot of competitive cars were fighting for positions. Hans Ambaum was again the winner, but he had to fend off a serious challenge from Dirk van Engelenhoven, who just missed out on a win by one tenth of a second. Danny the Haan was third, just in front of the improving Manfred Bavelaar.

In the end, Verheul couldn’t keep the hard-charging factory Mantis behind him and had to settle for second overall. Second in the GT class was Robbert Dollee, with the very new Saker. This car might turn out to be a great challenger for race wins if his current form is anything to go by. Third in class was Jan Storm in a Porsche GT3-RS. Storm had struggled during qualifying, but had a great second race and thoroughly deserved this third place.

All in all, the Dutch Supercar Challenge offered a lot of excitement for drivers and spectators alike and with the prospect of even more competitive cars, like the Mosler MT900-R owned by Gary Woodcock and a new Competition Viper, the series looks to be as good as any national GT championship in Europe.

Race 2 Result
1. Euser/Menten GT Marcos Mantis GT 18 laps
2. Jan Joris Verheul Supersport Marcos Mantis + 18.667
3. Robbert Dollee GT Saker Subaru + 39.896
4. Richard van de Bos Supersport BMW V8 GTR + 49.287
5. Ron Braspenning Supersport BMW E46 GTR +1.14.807
6. Graham Coomes Supersport Honda Accord ST +1.15.161
7. Jan Storm GT Porsche GT3-RS +1.15.341
8. Matthew van Diessen Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.15.697
9. Paul Gebbink Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.32.671
10. Nol Kohler Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.38.287
14. Hans Ambaum Sport BMW E36 + 1 Lap

The next race will take place on the Nurburgring on May 8/9.
Nelson Valkenburg

 

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